‘Take Me Away’, 1994 (‘Supersonic’)
Oasis were famed for their B-sides in the early days, which would regularly see them strip things back and delve into a softer side where Noel would often take lead vocals. So sat behind the swagger of ‘Supersonic’ was this fragile, romantic offering.
‘Talk Tonight’, 1995 (‘Some Might Say’)
Another from ‘Some Might Say’, this was one of the classic early acoustic tracks where Noel took lead vocals. It was inspired by the band’s first big bust-up in LA in 1984, when Noel fled to San Francisco and a female acquaintance ‘talked him off the ledge’.
‘The Masterplan’, 1995 (‘Wonderwall’)
This uplifting, orchestral masterpiece is considered to be one of the greatest B-sides by any band ever, better than many of their singles. So it was given the honour of being the title track of their 1998 B-sides compilation, where fans could vote for the tracklisting.
‘Angel Child’, 1977 (‘D’You Know What I Mean?’)
The other B-side from the first single from the third album is in just as stark a contrast to the lurching A-side. A simple stripped down demo with a Noel vocal in the vein of the early days, it’s a shame it was never recorded in a complete version.
Credit: Dean Chalkley/NME
‘Going Nowhere’, 1997 (‘Stand By Me’)
But elsewhere, it was obvious that things were starting to get to Noel. There’s a gorgeous Bacharach quality going on, but there’s a desperation that’s quite out of character. It’s actually the sound of a mid-life crisis, “gonna get me a motor car… wanna be wild ‘cause my life’s so tame… here am I growing older in the rain.”
‘Let’s All Make Believe’, 2000 (‘Go Let It Out’)
‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ didn’t quite restore Oasis’ prowess either, but they were still capable of turning out a killer B-side. This hidden gem has a spectral, hypnotic quality to it, but it spoke of tensions in the band: “Let’s all make believe / That we’re still friends / And we like each other”
‘(As Long As They’ve Got) Cigarettes In Hell’, 2000 (‘Go Let It Out’)
Just as on this second track from the same package, the kind of ballad that Noel still excels in on his own, but there was a more experimental aura to this low-key reflection on mortality: “I don’t mind not going to heaven as log as they’ve got cigarettes in hell.”
Credit: Dean Chalkley/NME
‘Idler’s Dream’, 2002 (‘The Hindu Times’)
Oasis aren’t known for their piano ballads, but they showed ‘A’ for them whenever they tried, as once again an underwhelming single was backed with a much better song. The way Oasis B-sides usually showcase the depth behind the bluster was rarely deeper than here.